I’ve been shooting photos for my new book and it’s starting to take over my life — which is as it should be because I want this book to be beautiful and inspiring and, well, good. So no pressure then! We’re having a heatwave here in the UK so the last few weeks of shooting have been pretty intense but thankfully the Circle line has air conditioning so I’m planning my travels accordingly. Pro tip: avoid the Central line at all costs. It’s like sitting in hell’s kitchen.
This book is going to be a portrait of the city and with a population of 8.3 million I’m inevitably photographing a lot of passers by. I’ve never felt comfortable taking photos of people in the street, but the more places I go the bolder I get. Like actors in your own private play, people bring life and character to the shots. I’ve been fantasising about creating a Humans of London blog in honour of the wonderful Humans of New York, but the truth is, I prefer wandering the streets unobtrusively. I like to observe rather than interact.
Of course, when you have a 40 year-old Polaroid camera hanging across your body, you tend to become a people magnet. Each day I speak to at least five or six souls who are curious about the camera. I’ve chatted with policemen outside the Houses of Parliament, the old boy in Camden Passage and Jesse, the Spanish dude I met on the Southbank who insisted I take his picture. There was the girl in Chipotle who said she had a Polaroid at home, the charity worker in Islington who wanted tips on shooting at night, and Darren in Chinatown who was so inspired by the Vivian Maier film he was out snapping strangers.
You are never stuck for conversation when you’re shooting with a Polaroid. This is turning into quite an adventure…
Londontown: A Photographic Tour of the City’s Delights is available for pre-order over here
When is the book due out? It looks fascinating judging by these snaps.
Darren is a guy after my own heart – Vivian Meier’s work is inspiring, and her story so compelling. Can’t wait for your book to come out!
Very exciting about your new book! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you around town. Enjoy/survive this heat wave!
Hi love, the book will be out in the spring of 2016 :)
Hi Susannah… are you shots totally candid or are you asking permission?
I’ve been wanting to go out and do this myself in my city, but a little nervous about taking pics of strangers.
I’m marking it on my calendar now :)
Yes, I would like to ask the same question as Misty – I always feel so self-conscious with a camera!!!
As always, Susannah, you inspire me. xo
hi loves, all of these shots are candid. I’ve had a couple of instances where I asked permission when i knew the person would be obviously in the shot, but most of the time I just blend in with all the other tourists taking photos around London. :)
How flipping fun is THIS project! Kudos to you for walking into the public at large. Can’t wait for you book to come out!
Just to let you know that I love vey much your work.
Kisses from Portugal.
Love this! I visited London a year and a half ago and loved every minute of it. So different to New Zealand! I’m excited to see a book that captures the vibe of that awesome city (and of course, I love all your work!)
Wonderful photos as ever. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the book! #tooexciting
I thought of you on Saturday when my folks went on a trip back in time by steam train in London. :)
(*my folks and I)
Wow – will you be producing a book with images you’ve taken of people around London then? I started an art project like this once and a couple of people spotted my camera (I obviously wasn’t very unobtrusive!) and they got quite uncomfortable, started questioning me & saying I needed to ask permission – argh! As a result, I abandoned the project as I wondered how I would feel if I turned up in someones pics in an exhibition (I saw an exhibition like this once), or online without them asking me and it made me re-consider…it’s one that came up a few times at art school….
Just curious how you’re dealing with it if that’s your plan…
No, the book will be a portrait of London as a city – there will be shots with people in them, obviously, but it’s not a book of portraits
Hey Susannah, I’m so excited for you and your wonderful photography project, and SO EXCITED for the book! Keep shooting, keep inspiring! Katie. X
Go, Susannah! I absolutely love HONY. And who better to do one for London? Good luck!
Hey Susannah – I have loved your previous books and I am sure this one will be just as fabulous! So looking forward to viewing your journey w these wonderful photos!